Dealers need to concentrate on creating a used car proposition that gives customers confidence while the general economic picture remains difficult, says RAC Warranty.
The company says that reports from franchise and independent dealers suggest that the ongoing effects of the double dip recession and continuing high unemployment is once again eroding customer self-confidence.
Sales and marketing director at RAC Warranty, Ian Simpson, explained: “If you drew a graph to represent customer confidence, it would show a rapid decline at the beginning of the first recession, followed by a gradual improvement up until about a year ago, and then a gradual slide in line with the second recession up until the present situation.
“What this means is that the mindset of customers changes subtly. A year ago, a factor such as a car being desirable might have been more important whereas today they may be more worried about general reliability and the safety net that is in place if anything goes wrong.”
The answer, Simpson says, is to put together a used car package that answers customer needs in these areas.
He said: “It is all about selling confidence to customers. Of course that means having the right stock and pricing competitively but it also covers factors such as having a watertight vehicle history and being able to offer a comprehensive, ask-any-question test drive.
“It also means providing something as close as possible to fixed price motoring. People do not want to face unexpected bills, so warranties that may extend over the whole life of the car with the customer are more important than ever.
“The used car dealers who we see making the most profits at the moment are often the ones who recognise the importance of the confidence factor and it is something that we believe will persist for a while.”